Clouds and the City Bowl

Clouds and the City Bowl
I took this photo from Signal Hill Road that winds along the side of Lion's Head to the parking area on Signal Hill.

The area straight ahead and to the right in this photo (on the slopes of Table Mountain and Devil's Peak) are the residential areas of Vredehoek, Gardends, and Oranjezicht. While they're beautifully located, with exquisit views of the city and mountians, those specific residential areas are known to be extremely (like as in very very extremely) windy.

I wouldn't mind living there for a couple of months, but I'm not sure that I'd enjoy settling down there.

Inner City : R5 Store on Plein Street

Inner City : R5 Store on Plein Street
A store where all products cost R5. Let me put that into perspective - at today's exchange rate that's $0.50 and about £0.30.

I never crossed the road to actually walk inside and take a look. But I can't imagine that the 50%-off pillows and curtains sign in the window could mean that they'd be selling curtains for R2.50, or could it? And, could that mirror, the frame, and those flowers all cost R5 each? That's insane. I'll make a mental note to inspect the store next time I'm in the area!

Inner City : Sima & Tino Mini Market on Plein Street

Inner City : Sima & Tino Mini Market on Plein Street
This area on Plein Street is a little run down, and the stores certainly aren't fancy, and small stores like Sima & Tino Mini Market tend to be packed with a variety of products, from sweets and cooldrinks to shampoo, shoe polish, and even take-away coffee.

Gotham City and the Central Methodist Mission

Central Methodist Mission, Longmarket & Burg
It's hard to miss the Central Methodist Mission church building when visiting Greenmarket Square in the heart of Cape Town's bustling CBD.

Imagine for a moment that all the buildings in the city resembled this one's architecture. Wouldn't that be fantastically awesome and thoroughly scary, especially at nightfall? I guess it would then be mandatory to rename Cape Town to something more appropriate, like Gotham City.

Not that Gotham City looks exactly like that, but you get the idea, don't you? :)

City parking parkade

City parking parkade
It's no doubt that during the week you'd find hundreds of cars parked above each other in the multi-level Golden Acre parking garage.

Do you ever find that having so much concrete above you makes you a little nervous? I have to admit that I feel a twinge of unease if, while in this kind of structure, I dwell on this point for too long. :)

Cape Town City Hall

A Cape Town City Hall vantage point
Ten points to the first person to guess exactly where I was when shooting this photo. Photographers, it an interesting vantage point - that's actually not very difficult to find and offers a few interesting perspectives on the city.

Table Mountain and the city bowl

Table Mountain and the city bowl
As the day wears on, the shadow of our mountain slowly creeps forward to remind those who live in the city bowl that the day is at its end. One of the down sides (perhaps the only down side) of living near Table Mountain is that sunny days are cut short far sooner than one would expect - which is arguably a good thing on the few stifling-hot days we have in the beginning of the year.

See the city

City Sight Seeing bus
This is an awesome way to see the city - provided it's not too windy, and not too rainy. In fact, the optimal weather is sunny and windless - that way you're able to enjoy the hop-off spots to their full.

The bus leaves from the V&A Waterfront, just outside the aquarium. As you can see from the front of the bus, this is the "Blue Mini Peninsula Tour" which basically traverses the city, takes a drive over Kloof Nek, down to Camps Bay, and along the coast back towards Sea Point, ending back where you started at the V&A Waterfront.

Do this trip if you have half a day available of if you'd prefer to spend a long time at hop-off spots - you're sure to enjoy it. As an alternative you could take the day-long tour that goes via Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, over to Hout Bay, and back along the coast past Camps Bay, Sea Point, also returning to the V&A Waterfront.

Just above the city

Table Mountain and Lion's Head from Signal Hill
Taking a sharp right turn at the top of Kloof Nek road will lead you up, above the city, along the side of Signal Hill, and past Lion's Head (the peak visible in this photo).

There are a few short hiking trails in this area - and since you're so close to the city, it's quite difficult to get very lost. Take at least a litre of water along per person, a warm top, and a pair of closed shoes. Also, hike in groups of three or four... our nature borders on a city, after all.

Save, and keep handy, the Mountain Club of South Africa's number (+27 21 937 0300) as well as the number for crime-related incidents (+27 86 110 6417) on your mobile phone. Those numbers may come in super handy some day. There are a few other numbers here, but they seem to be two individual's personal mobile numbers, so I'll rather just link to the MSCA page.

Electricity pylons

Electricity pylons
These electricity pylons reminded me of how dependent we are on those billions of electrons that flow across wires to our homes. We had a short power failure at work earlier in the week - and though I was lucky (I was working on a laptop and had UPS power for my other monitors) several others in our office building could simply not continue with their work. Now, while that may sound appealing, it's not ideal when you really have work that you have to get finished.

About two or three weeks ago I bought 18 kilograms of LPG (liquid petroleum gas), and a two-plate portable gas hob - in case we have unforeseen power shortages this winter. There's no way I'm risking having to wake up without a cup of hot coffee!

Mountain city

Mountain city
I'd imagine that most of the world's city-dwellers aren't use to having a mountain in such close proximity to the city in which they live. As you probably know, Cape Town is cradled by Devils Peak (in this pic), Table Mountain, Lion's Head and Signal Hill. I imagine it must be strange for many of our visitors to have such a large mountain in close proximity to the city.

Green power (how much electricity do you use?)

Green power
Our household of four consists of two adults (Kerry-Anne and I) and two children (cats, Elizabeth and William). I think we're pretty conservative in terms of energy consumption and use about 700kWh's of electricity at a cost of about 700 ZAR per month.

I don't think we use that much energy, but wouldn't it be great if regular households could be completely self-sufficient in terms of energy? Perhaps some day hey?

How much electricity do you use each month, and how much do you pay for it. I'd be especially keen to know what you use and how much you pay for it - especially if you're from another country.

Table Mountain trip : The city view (8#10)

Cape Town from Table Mountain
In case you missed it, see the previous post in this series.

How many cities in the world are so perfectly located? Cape Town finds herself on the edge of the large bay known as Table Bay, and she's cradled by Signal Hill, Lion's Head, Table Mountain and Devil's Peak.

Take a moment to click on the photo to see a large version. Where in the world have you seen a city that has a tall flat-top mountain that's so easily accessable to everyone visiting her? It's not often that cities have such a prominent structure that rises 1km into the sky and gives visitors a 360° aerial perspective of the city. We're truely priveledged to live in a city built on the slopes of Table Mountain.
I know that I may sound awfully dramatic (and perhaps a little over-exited), but no matter how many times I'm go up there, I never get tired or blasé about the view from the top. It's truly and amazing perspective on the city.

Public art and the Infecting the City festival

Public Art
I first started to appreciate public art while walking the streets of Paris on vacation in 2006. It seemed that everywhere we looked there was at least one piece of art on display with the gardens and parks seeming to be gathering places for statues and sculptures of all kind. I realised then that in some way art (and perhaps sculpture in particular) conjures up the humanity in those who see it. In some way it draws us from our day-to-day race and reminds us that we're human; not robots made to mechanically step through life.

Although Cape Town has it's fair share of statues, they're mostly political in nature and weren't placed in the public domain for reasons of artistic appreciation (I don't think). However, there appears to have been a gradual move towards public art displays - with the most notable one being the scuptures of girls and butterflies along the Sea Point promenade.

The Infecting the City public art festival is set to take place from 21 February until 26 February in Cape Town. (Here's a schedule). While the main hub will be located on the square outside the Cape Town Station the displays and performances will be spread all over the CBD area. If you're not normally in the city, make a plan to visit - there's going to be plenty to see and admire!

Photo of the year 2010 – a City Daily Photo theme day

A boy and his vuvuzela

Even though we habitually miss it, each month the City Daily Photo members have a theme day on which they publish photos representing a particular theme.

As is traditional on 1 January, today's theme is "Photo of the year 2010"; most CDP bloggers take this annual opportunity to post what they or their readers believe to be their best or most beautiful photo of the preceding year. We've decided to interpret the theme a little differently and post not the best photo of the year, but rather a photo that we feel portrays the greatest highlight of our city's 2010 calendar: the Football World Cup that was held in South Africa during June and July.

Visit our June and July archives to see more daily photos taken around the time of the World Cup.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants of the City Daily Photo Theme Day.

Cinderella in December, by Cape Town City Ballet

Ballet dancer

I'm not sure that this is in fact a ballet dancer; her shoes seem to indicate otherwise.

However (and don't you think this is clever of me? ;) ), now that we're on the topic of shoes, I found out that Cape Town City Ballet will be presenting the story of Cinderella at the Artscape Opera House between 17 and 24 December, with music by the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. Don't you think this would be a magical way to build up towards Christmas (assuming you celebrate Christmas)?

Guys, if you and your loved one don't have other plans, and if you think she'd love something like this, take the opportunity and buy tickets for Christmas Eve. Even us un-balleted guys should be able to follow such a well-known story. :)

A city center photo walk

Hungry for food
Perhaps it's all the walking, but I always seem to get terribly hungry when out on a photo walk.

Naturally you'd need to be familiar with Cape Town to answer this question... but given this sign and that I was somewhere in the city center - and given my previous photo - where do you think I visited to buy a refreshingly different take-away lunch?

Cape Town City Hall – a different perspective

Cape Town City Hall
For some reason, and I honestly can't say why, I've never seen the back of the city hall! To help you get some perspective on where this photo was taken - the lower left corner of this photo has the Grand Parade in the distance. You may recall that I posted a photo of this building from a different angle a few months back.

The last time I was in the City Hall was during the mid '90s. At that time it house the Central Library, and I remember spending time in a slightly stuffy, very cramped, slightly dark room that reminded me of a library that you'd be more likely to be visiting if your name were Harry Potter.

I never realised this before now, but on closer investigation I've just learned that in 2008 the library moved to a building located just to the left of this one (if you were facing it's front). Kerry-Anne hasn't read this article yet - but I imagine that on reading she'll be insisting that we soon pay the "new" library a visit. :)

An uncommon perspective in the city

Cape Town
I took a photo of this uncommon view from the top of the Golden Acre building (map) in Cape Town. The road below is Castle Street that further on becomes Parliament Street, finally leading right to our parliament buildings.

Skyscraper City

A big old skyscraper
Please indulge me, leave a comment, and try to guess which building this could be. It's located in the city's CBD, the style isn't *that* common, and it's found on the corner of two major roads.

Compared to other cities, Cape Town doesn't have a huge number of skyscraper-type buildings, so especially for residents, this shouldn't be such a tough question. :)

A call to save Cape Town City Ballet

The Art of Living

Cape Town City Ballet opened it's doors *way* back in 1934, and today faces the possibility of closing up shop for ever. Even though I hadn't planned to write about ballet, I've just realised that the photo that I'd intended to post fits the theme - in some manner at least. :)

Ballet is indeed an art, and for the dancers involved with Cape Town City Ballet, it is a way of life. If you feel that you would like to support this organisation, please visit the Save Cape Town City Ballet website. There's a huge "donate" button towards the bottom of the homepage.

Thanks to Chris and The Forge Web Creations for bringing the cause to our attention and for setting up the Save Cape Town City Ballet website. You guys rock!